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Dexter's Laboratory title.jpg
Dexter's Laboratory
Genre Action
Comedy
Science Fiction
Animation
Family
Format 2D hand-drawn animated Series
Created by Genndy Tartakovsky
Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky
Chris Savino
John McIntyre
Rob Renzetti
Robert Alvarez
Don Judge
Rumen Petkov
Paul Rudish
Craig McCracken
Creative director
Starring
Voices of Christine Cavanaugh (1996–2001)
Candi Milo (2002–03)
Allison Moore (1996–97; 2001–02)
Kathryn Cressida (1997–99; 2002–03)
Kath Soucie
Jeff Bennett
Eddie Deezen
Rob Paulsen
Tom Kenny
Frank Welker
Composer(s) Thomas Chase and Steve Rucker (main series)
Gary Lionelli (Dial M and The Justice Friends)
Opening theme "Dexter's Laboratory" (main title)
Number of seasons 4
Number of episodes 78 (221 segments) (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Larry Huber (1996–97)
Buzz Potamkin (1996–97)
Sherry Gunther (1997–99)
Genndy Tartakovsky (2001–03)
Producer(s) Genndy Tartakovsky
Chris Savino (2001–03)
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Cartoon Network Studios (1996–97; 2001–03)
Hanna-Barbera Productions (1997–99)
Broadcast
Original channel Cartoon Network
Boomerang
Picture format NTSC (480i)
PAL (576i)
HDTV (1080i) (Cartoon Planet reruns only)
Audio format Dolby Surround (1996–99)
Dolby Digital 5.1 (2001–03)
Original run April 28, 1996 – November 20, 2003
External links

Dexter's Laboratory (commonly abbreviated as Dexter's Lab) is an American comic science fiction animated television series created by Genndy Tartakovsky for Cartoon Network, and the first of the network's Cartoon Cartoons. The series follows Dexter, a boy-genius and inventor with a secret laboratory, who constantly battles his sister Dee Dee in an attempt to keep her out of the lab. He also engages in a bitter rivalry with his neighbor and fellow-genius Mandark. The first two seasons contained additional segments: Dial M for Monkey, which focuses on Dexter's pet lab-monkey/superhero, and The Justice Friends, about a trio of superheroes who share an apartment.

Tartakovsky pitched the series to Hanna-Barbera's animated shorts showcase What a Cartoon!, basing it on student films he produced while attending the California Institute of the Arts. A pilot aired on Cartoon Network in February 1995 and another pilot also aired on the network in March 1996; viewer approval ratings convinced Cartoon Network to order a half-hour series, which premiered on April 28, 1996. On December 10, 1999, a television movie titled Dexter's Laboratory: Ego Trip aired as the intended series finale, and Tartakovsky left to begin work on his new series, Samurai Jack. However, in 2001, the network revived the series under a different production team at Cartoon Network Studios. It ended on November 20, 2003, with a total of four seasons and 78 episodes.

Dexter's Laboratory received high ratings and became one of Cartoon Network's most popular and successful original series. During its run, the series won three Annie Awards, with nominations for four Primetime Emmy Awards, four Golden Reel Awards, and nine additional Annie Awards. The series is notable for helping launch the careers of several cartoonists, such as Craig McCracken, Seth MacFarlane, Butch Hartman, and Rob Renzetti. Spin-off media include comic books, DVD and VHS releases, music albums, collectible toys, and video games.

Premise

A young brother and sister pointing remote controls at each other set against a purple laboratory background featuring several animals and yellow bolts of electricity.

Poster for the series' pilot, where Dexter (right) and his sister Dee Dee (left) fight over a device that transforms people into animals

The series revolves around Dexter (voiced by Christine Cavanaugh in seasons 1–3; Candi Milo in seasons 3–4), a bespectacled boy-genius who possesses a secret laboratory hidden behind a bookcase in his bedroom. The laboratory is filled with Dexter's inventions and can be accessed by speaking various passwords or by activating hidden switches on Dexter's bookshelf (e.g. pulling out a specific book). Though highly intelligent, Dexter often fails at what he has set out to do when he becomes overexcited and makes careless choices. Although he comes from a typical all-American family, Dexter speaks with a thick accent of indeterminate origin. Cavanaugh described it as "an affectation, some kind of accent, we're not quite sure. A small Peter Lorre, but not. Perhaps he's Latino, perhaps he's French. He's a scientist; he knows he needs some kind of accent." Genndy Tartakovsky explained, "He considers himself a very serious scientist, and all well-known scientists have accents."

Dexter manages to keep the lab a secret from his clueless, cheerful Mom (Kath Soucie) and Dad (Jeff Bennett), who never take notice of it. However, he is frequently in conflict with his hyperactive older sister, Dee Dee (Allison Moore in seasons 1 and 3; Kathryn Cressida in seasons 2 and 4). In spite of Dexter's advanced technology, Dee Dee eludes all manner of security, and once inside her brother's laboratory, she delights in playing haphazardly, often wreaking havoc with his inventions. Though seemingly dim-witted, Dee Dee often outsmarts her brother and even gives him helpful advice. For his part, Dexter, though annoyed by his intrusive sibling, feels a reluctant affection for her and will come to her defense if she is imperiled.

Dexter's nemesis is a rival boy-genius from his school named Susan "Mandark" Astronomonov (Eddie Deezen). Just like Dexter, Mandark also has his own laboratory, but his schemes are generally evil and designed to gain power while downplaying or destroying Dexter's accomplishments. In the revival seasons, Mandark becomes significantly more evil, becoming Dexter's enemy rather than his rival and his laboratory changing from brightly-lit with rounded features to gothic-looking, industrial, and angular. Because Dexter's inventions are often better than his, Mandark tries to make up for this by stealing Dexter's plans. Mandark's weakness is his love for Dee Dee, though she ignores him and never returns his affections.

References

External links

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